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Falafel stuffed with sumac onions
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By Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich
Perfect just as they are, falafel need no embellishment or improvement. Or so we thought, until we tried this stuffed version in Jordan – a crisp shell giving way to sweet and tangy onions flavoured with sumac. It really won our hearts.
Makes: 14-18 (serves 4-6 as part of a spread)
200g dried chickpeas
2 large onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp ground cumin
½ tsp sumac
2 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp salt
4 tbsp plain flour (or gram flour to make it gluten free)
1 litre vegetable oil, for frying
1 large red onion, very finely sliced
½ tsp sumac
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 lemons, juice of 1,1 cut into wedges
1. Soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of water for at least 8 hours until they double in size (do not cook them and do not use canned). For the sumac onions, mix the red onion with the sumac and a pinch of salt. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
2. For the tahini sauce, put the tahini, crushed garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a food processor; add 100ml ice-cold water and whizz together. It will go pasty but don’t fear: drizzle in another 100ml ice-cold water, keeping the motor running, until the mixture loosens up to a creamy texture. Adjust the salt to your liking; set aside.
3. Drain the soaked chickpeas and put in a food processor with the chopped onions and garlic; whizz until everything becomes a thick paste with the consistency of rough breadcrumbs. Add the spices, baking powder, salt and flour; whizz again until all is well combined. Create 40g mounds of the mixture. Pick up each mound and flatten with damp hands, then put a little of the sumac onion in the centre of each. Fold over to conceal and create a slightly flattened patty. Put on a plate and repeat with the rest of the mixture. Set aside any remaining sumac onion.
4. When you are ready to fry, fill a large, deep frying pan with the vegetable oil; set on a medium heat (if you have a thermometer you want it to reach 170ºC). Carefully lower a single layer of the patties into the oil (you will need to do this in batches) and fry for 2-3 minutes, until crisp and golden on the bottom, then carefully turn and cook on the other side for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted or spider straining spoon; blot dry on kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining patties. Serve the falafel warm with the tahini sauce, any remaining sumac onions and the lemon wedges.
Typical values per serving:
Per serving (for 4)
This recipe was first published in May 2021.